Belfast is one of six cities for EE's first 5G roll-out

EE is rolling out the first phase of its 5G service in Belfast
EE is rolling out the first phase of its 5G service in Belfast

BELFAST is among the six cities chosen by EE, the UK’s number one mobile network, for the first phase of its 5G launch.

It joins London, Cardiff, Edinburgh, Birmingham and Manchester for immediate roll-out, with another 10 cities due to switch on in 2019.

EE is switching on 5G sites in 16 UK cities in 2019, including Glasgow, Newcastle, Liverpool, Leeds, Hull, Sheffield, Nottingham, Leicester, Coventry and Bristol.

Part of BT Group, EE is building 5G in the UK’s busiest places, where the power of the technology will provide a more reliable data connection even in the biggest crowds.

EE will launch with multiple smartphone partners, as well as an EE 5G Home router with external antenna, to showcase the power of 5G for broadband.

SDLP councillor for Belfast City's Balmoral ward Donal Lyons welcomed the EE announcement, adding: “As more and more services move online, it's vital customers have the internet speed to keep up with advancing technology.

“This has come at an exciting time for Belfast, particularly as the Belfast Regional City Deal will see a range of innovative-led projects come forward, as well as complementing our impressive tech start-up sector.”

Marc Allera, chief executive of BT’s consumer division, said: “Our 5G trials are going well, giving us valuable insight into both the performance of the new technology and the challenges of upgrading sites with this new equipment.

"We’re confident that we can bring 5G to the busiest parts of Belfast and the UK in 2019. We’ll start with the busiest ‘hotspots’, meeting the greatest demand from our customers, and keep upgrading in more places from there.”

The BT technology team is building a next generation 5G core in line with the next stage of global standards, with virtualised network functions on a cloud native infrastructure.